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April 13, 2012 No comments
WCR Survivor. Episode Number 7.Sports Cycling Bicycles Travel & Adventure Cycling
Everything's bigger in Texas. Richard pondering a quick roadside snack, perhaps. Timewise, any WCR Grand Tour riders who harbour hopes of bettering Alan Bate's Guinness record will need to consider themselves as nearing the halfway point of their quest this week. Realistically, a couple are still in the running. Mike Hall and Martin Walker could each theoretically make it to London in under 106 days. Remember, of course, that Mr Bate's record was a partly supported ride, and all of our racers are going solo. The previous best unsupported mark of 160 days set by Vin Cox is still very much within the grasp of most of our competitors. Richard Dunnett is done with U.S. and now in New Zealand. He unleashed a stream of consciousness via his blog at the weekend, bringing everybody up to speed on his movements since December last year or thereabouts. Richard is well up the Leader Board, more than comfortably poised for a podium finish. That neck brace on the rear rack is meant to go around his neck. (Photo not taken in England) Sean Conway has strapped on the armour once more and is back out there on a new set of wheels. A couple of weeks ago, he was involved in a tangle with a truck, causing injuries to his person, and rendering his bike a write-off. He has gingerly set off, neck braced, after the long weekend, bidding farewell to the legion of Kind Strangers who made his extended Arkansas stopover more of a holiday than an ordeal. We find another man who got back on the horse, Stephen Phillips, pondering lately the mysteries of saddle soreness. But Stephen! We've posted on this subject before! He says when he's riding into the wind or uphill he becomes very aware of it. Then get up on those pedals and attack, man! At any rate, he has found a new energy drink that seems to suit his metabolism, providing some extra zip, without any of the hallucinatory side effects that Mike Hall encountered drinking "Buzzer" in Turkey. Stephen is not only stopping to smell the flowers these days, he's plucking a few blooms and placing them in his helmet. Which can only mean that San Francisco beckons. Martin Walker still lies second overall, having this week cracked the 10000 km mark. Readers will recall that Martin hasn't done much in the way of distance touring in the past, and has managed to confound many doubters who questioned the wisdom of his getting involved in such a race. One young lady who has never had cause to doubt him, however, is his daughter Lauren. She has assumed control of his Facebook page and is cheerily relaying news of her dad's latest adventures on the road. Much water has passed under the proverbial bridge since this snap. Mike Hall writes this week "New chain = New bike. New socks = New Mike". Sentiments that will set seasoned riders nodding. Though he was still clocking up respectable mileage, Mike had found himself a little out of sorts during the first stretch of his Australian leg. Maddeningly over the Easter weekend, just as he was starting to find rhythm, his tires gave up the ghost completely. It seems he was starting to run Martin Walker (40 or thereabouts) pretty close on the puncture count. He located and then visited 5 bike shops, all of which were shut till Tuesday. Help, however, was at hand in the form of a Kind Stranger, this one a Man of the Cloth, who produced a new tyre for Mike out of thin air, it seems. And while we may be overstating things to speak of a "Miracle", most will agree that a priest springing out of nowhere with a sorely needed new tyre over the Easter weekend represents an extremely unlikely confluence of circumstances. While not quite ready to embrace the notion of a Higher Power, Mike was certainly moved to admit that his KOS-ometer readings were surely "off the chart". Award winning German bike builders Tout Terrain are shipping out a new frame to Thailand for Stuart Lansdale. After crashing his bike in India, Stuart had hoped to switch components to another frame in Nepal. Said frame did not materialize, however, so Stuart decided to continue to Bangkok. He is hungry to get moving again, and currently planning a new route for the Australian and U.S. legs of his attempt. We gather that Simon Hutchinson has been back in hospital after a crash in Perth, Australia last week. The latest we have heard from him via his girlfriend Nicola is that he has been discharged, on the mend, and resting up for a spell. Simon has done nothing the easy way thus far, and was one of only two riders to choose the Eastern Route setting off from London. He is hoping to raise funds for this charity. When he said he was "gunning for Oregon", we thought he meant something else. Paul Ashley Unett is using his time on the road to try out new facial hair configurations. Here we see him in Oregon modeling an "Extended Wolverine". We haven't been able to establish whether Paul is using a set of vintage Brooks Gun Clips to carry his rifle, but we hope he is. The Bolivian road authorities made a special exception for Niel Coventry Brown last week. A smooth expressway running all the way to Brazil is nearing completion, but still closed for all traffic. The kindly said Niel could take his chances on it. Smooth, but somewhat sticky on account of the final surface layer still needing to be applied, Niel is in two minds as to whether he might not have been better off on a dirt track. But he had it all to himself, so it was a safe, if ultimately slow, stretch of his tour. Jason Woodhouse is still nursing a tweaked arm, but managing to grin through gritted teeth. Everybody is being nice to Jason, and he is rapidly becoming something of a celebrity in the States. He has been going out for drinks with the Great and the Good of American television. "Survivor" veteran Kelly Czarnecki was the latest famous person to look him up, and in Cincinnati, the local paparazzi managed to click a few shots of the pair. Please, no photographs... okay, go on then. Jason Woodhouse enjoying time off the road. Jason's taking this new-found fame in his stride, and becoming rather au fait with English as spoken in the U.S. "The kindness of strangers has been awesome.", he stated in a recent interview.